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Arizona Setting Aside Misdemeanor FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

This page was designed to help our clients better understand our Arizona Setting Aside Misdemeanor service. You will find answers to the questions we are most frequently asked. If your question is related to eligibility requirements please take the free online eligibility test.



Will my set-aside case show up on my background check?

What appears on a background check depends on the type of background check that is done. If the employer does your standard commercial background check (which typically only looks for actual convictions), chances are the case will not appear. If the employer requires you to submit fingerprints and provide a copy of your AZ Department of Public Safety report, the report will show that there was a case, but that the case was set aside and there is no conviction or finding of guilt.

The AZ Supreme Court's website lists court cases and the outcome of the case. In some instances the court has been leaving the guilty plea present on the website, but the case history will state that it was set aside.

We use the terms set-aside and expungement interchangeably.

However, commercial background check companies may take up to one year to update their records to reflect the expungement. We can expedite the updating of commercial background checks companies and reduce the time it takes from about one year to less than 14 days. See our Expedited Record Clearance Update for information on this important step.

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Can my set-aside (expunged) case still be used against me for a future conviction?

The set aside can still be used for sentencing purposes in later criminal cases. (ARS 13-907(c)(1))

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Do I ever have to disclose my expunged case?

You do not have to disclose the set-aside case and can answer with confidence to any inquiry or to an application for employment that you have not been convicted of a crime. (ARS 13-907(c))

We use the terms set-aside and expunge interchangeably.

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Can I become a schoolteacher, nurse, or other occupation after my case is expunged?

You can truthfully say you were not convicted if questioned by any potential employer. (ARS 13-907(c)) Even though the case may be viewed on extensive background checks, it will appear as a dismissed case and not a conviction; a set aside will certainly increase your chances of employment.

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What if I want to work in a bank?

Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (FDIA) allows banks and other financial institutions to bar prospective and current employees who have had “Breach of Trust” or "Dishonesty" convictions from jobs that they are otherwise qualified for even if they had the conviction expunged.

"Dishonesty" means directly or indirectly to cheat or defraud; to cheat or defraud for monetary gain or its equivalent; or wrongfully to take property belonging to another in violation of any criminal statute. Dishonesty includes acts involving want of integrity, lack of probity, or a disposition to distort, cheat, or act deceitfully or fraudulently, and may include crimes which federal, state or local laws define as dishonest. "Breach of trust" means a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission with respect to any property or fund which has been committed to a person in a fiduciary or official capacity, or the misuse of one's official or fiduciary position to engage in a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission. Whether a crime involves dishonesty or breach of trust will be determined from the statutory elements of the crime itself. All convictions for offenses concerning the illegal manufacture, sale, distribution of or trafficking in controlled substances are included. Other offenses can include but is not limited to the following: petty theft, grand theft, insufficient checks, burglary, possession of drugs for distribution or sales, embezzlement, fraud, fraud to obtain aid or benefits and money laundering.

If you believe you have a “breach of trust” or "dishonesty" conviction and were denied a position or were terminated from a financial institution because of that offense, there still is another way to obtain that job with a waiver from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). It is important to speak with an attorney about your specific circumstances to see if you would qualify for such a waiver from the FDIC.

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Do I need to hire an attorney or can I proceed with the setting aside on my own?

You have an attorney to: (1) make sure the process of setting aside your misdemeanor is done right the first time so it does not get rejected or cost you months of delay, (2) handle objections from the district attorney, (3) send an attorney to court to argue the case if necessary, and (4) write letters to potential employers letting them know that the case has been reopened and will soon have the conviction off your record.

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How long does the Arizona setting aside process take?

Typically, it takes about 3 to 4 months to expunge an Arizona record.

Our estimate is based on how long the average misdemeanor set aside case takes in Arizona; however, each case is different. Factors affecting the length of the process include: the circumstances surrounding the case, whether the District Attorney is agreeing or objecting, and the amount of time that has passed since the incident. We work on your case as fast as we can and assist the court and District Attorney in anything they need to get your case heard.

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Can I get an expungement instead of a set aside in Arizona?

Arizona law does not use the term or offer an expungement; however, setting-aside in Arizona has the same affect as conviction expungement in California. Setting aside a conviction in Arizona removes the finding of guilt and dismisses the case, so a person can truthfully say they were not convicted.

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Can the process of expunging an Arizona record done faster?

The Arizona courts work on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, the sooner you sign up, the sooner your case is heard and decided. If helpful, we will gladly write a letter to your employer or potential employer to let them know we have reopened the case and are in the process of having it dismissed.

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How do I know what is going on with my case?

We have an online tracking system for you to stay updated on the progress of your case(s). You will have a user name and password to access your account where you can view all of the information specific to your case. Whenever anything happens in your case, we post notes in your online account so that you can view the status of the case and the progress that has been made.

If there are no notes in your online account, then that means there is currently no update on the case. For example, once we have filed the petition with the court, we will update the notes when we hear a response from the court or District Attorney. Depending on the case, it can take several weeks or even months to hear from the court or District Attorney regarding the next step. If something is taking longer than usual for the court, we will call to obtain the status of the case and update your online notes. In addition to posting the status updates in your online account, we will post your case information so you are aware of the case and future hearings.

Moreover, we post your contract and payment plan information on the online account for you so that you can view all the information and print the necessary content.

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Do I have to go to court?

No, we will go to court for you. If the court requests your presence and you are unable to attend, we will file a motion to excuse your appearance.

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How does the RecordGone.com attorney know the details of my case?

Once you sign up, we have you fill out a questionnaire on your personal online account. The questionnaire asks for information that may influence the outcome of the case and allows us to argue to the judge why you are eligible and the set aside should be granted. Although some of the questions may seem simple, we will be better able to argue your case if you provide more information and detail in your answers.

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Does it matter if the disposition of my case is guilty or no contest?

No, the disposition of your case does not matter. We can set aside your conviction regardless of whether you pled guilty or no contest.

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Will the Arizona court expunge my case if I still owe fines or restitution?

ARS 13-907 states that a person has to fulfill the conditions of probation or the sentence in order to file for a set aside. However, our law firm can petition the court to reduce the amount owed. (ARS 13-805 and 13-810)

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What are the details of your money-back guarantee?

If we are unable to succeed on your case, we have a money-back guarantee for certain services. Please view the pricing section for details regarding the money-back guarantee.

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Do you have payment plans?

We can create a payment plan that meets your needs. Our payment plans are always interest free. Please view the pricing section for details regarding the payment plans.

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What if I don’t know exactly what is on my record?

We will be glad to work with you to get a copy of your record and to review what can be done to help you. We charge a researching fee, which we apply to the cost of any service that you hire us to perform.

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What if I have multiple cases in Arizona that need expungement?

Set aside applications must be completed and filed separately for each case. Therefore, we charge per case (regardless of the number of counts in each case); however, if you sign up for multiple cases, we do offer a discount on the additional cases.

We use the terms Arizona set-aside and Arizona expungement interchangeably.

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Are any offenses ineligible under Arizona law?

Yes. Offenses involving the infliction of serious physical injury, involving the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, that require registration as a sex offender, if there was a finding of sexual motivation, where the victim was under 15 years old, or that are in Title 28, Chapter 3 are not eligible. (ARS 13-907)

-Failure to Comply with Police Officer (28-622) -Unlawful Flight from a Pursuing Law Enforcement Vehicle (28-662.01) -Display of Unauthorized Signs, Signals, or Markings (28-648) -Interference with Official Traffic Control Device or Railroad Sign Signal (28-649) -Possession of Traffic Preemption Emitter (28-649) -Use of Private Property to Avoid Traffic Control Device (28-651) -Failure to Stop at Scene of Accident (28-661 & 28-662) -Failure to Give Information and Assistance During Accident (28-663) -Duty on Striking Unattended Vehicle (28-664) -Striking Fixtures on a Highway (28-665) -Causing Serious Physical Injury or Death via Moving Violation (28-672) -Causing Death by Use of a Vehicle (28-675) -Causing Serious Physical Injury by Use of a Vehicle (28-676) -Aggressive Driving (28-695) -Speeding violations (28-701 to 28-710) -Violations pertaining to driving on the right side of a roadway, overtaking and passing a vehicle (28-721 to 28-737) -Violations pertaining to turning, starting, and signaling when stopping or turning (28-751 to 28-756) -Violations pertaining to right-of-way (28-771 to 28-776) -Violations pertaining to pedestrian rights and duties (28-791 to 28-797) -Violations pertaining to operation of bicycles (28-811 to 28-818) -Driving Vehicle Through, Around, or Under a Crossing Gate that is Closed (28-851) -Failure to Stop at Railroad Grade Crossing When Required (28-853) -Moving Heavy Equipment Across a Railroad Track or Railroad Grade Crossing (28-854) -Failure to Stop at Stop Sign (28-855) -Emerging from Alley, Driveway, or Building (28-856) -Overtaking & Passing a School Bus (28-857) -Stopping, Standing, or Parking Outside a Business or Residence (28-871) -Stopping, Standing, or Parking on Sidewalks and Other Prohibited Areas (28-873) -Stopping, Standing, or Parking in Space Designate for Electric Vehicles (28-876) -Violations Pertaining to Parking for Persons with Disabilities (28-881 to 28-886) -Unlawful Backing of Vehicle (28-891) -Obstruction of Driver’s View (28-893) -Coasting (28-895) -Swaying a Trailer or Semi-Trailer (28-896) -Crossing a Fire Hose (28-897) -Littering on Roadway (28-898) -Driving a Motor Vehicle in Way that Deprives a Motorcycle of the Full Use of a Lane (28-903) -Driving on Sidewalk (28-904) -Unsafely Opening a Vehicle Door (28-905) -Mechanically Raising or Lowering Height of Vehicle While Driving (28-906) -Child Passenger Restraint System (28-907) -Operating an Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device by Person Under 16 (28-911) -Violations pertaining to motor vehicle equipment (28-921 to 28-966) -Inspection of Vehicles (28-983) -Violations pertaining to vehicle size, weight, and load (28-1091 to 28-1111) -Operating, Moving, or Leaving Standing on a Highway a Vehicle Carrying or Transporting Cargo in Violation of an Envelope Permit (28-1151) -Violations pertaining to off-highway vehicles (28-1171 to 28-1181)

However, reckless driving and DUI offenses are eligible.

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If I was convicted of a felony, can I have the felony reduced?

You are eligible to have your felony reduced to a misdemeanor if your conviction was an undesignated offense. You can call the court where you were convicted and they will be able to tell you if your conviction was undesignated. (ARS 13-604)

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What is the main reason that a request to set aside is denied?

Cases are denied for the following reasons: (1) an inaccuracy in the court file, (2) an inaccuracy in the petition, (3) the court does not believe the set aside will be in the interest of justice, (4) probation was violated, (5) fines were not fully paid, or (6) the recency of your release from probation or prison.

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What if my case is denied?

If the case is denied, we evaluate the reason for the denial and determine the best way to proceed. If we do not believe that re-filing would be successful or we recommend that you wait longer to re-file, then there is a money-back guarantee for certain services.

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Will setting aside relieve me of the requirement to register?

Convictions that require registration are not eligible to be set aside. (ARS 13-907)

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What happens after my conviction is set aside (expunged)?

You will receive a court order setting aside your conviction. Public criminal record databases will be updated to reflect that your conviction was set aside and your case was closed.

We use the terms set-aside and expunge interchangeably.

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How do the agencies know the set aside was granted?

The court will send the granted order to the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS). The Arizona DPS will then update their records and the public criminal record databases will be updated to reflect that your conviction was set aside and your case was closed.

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How long does updating records take?

The court updates their records within 48 hours and the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) has up to 30 days to update their records. However, the DPS typically updates their records before the 30 days expire.

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Can I seal Arizona arrest or conviction record if I was convicted?

No. In order to have a case sealed, you cannot be convicted of the charge, and you must prove that the arrest was wrongful. (ARS 13-4051) Please see the section on record sealing.

We use the terms set-aside and expunge interchangeably.

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Will setting aside my conviction clean up my DMV record?

A set aside does not clear your DMV record; however, after a certain number of years, the DMV records fall off and disappear, unlike your criminal history that never disappears.

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Will my record prohibit me from visiting Canada?

If you have been convicted of minor offenses (including assault, dangerous driving, DUI, theft, shoplifting, unauthorized possession of firearms, possession of illegal substances, etc.) or indictable criminal offenses (including assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter, etc.) you may be prohibited from entrance into Canada and further action will be required to find out whether you will be allowed entrance. The Canadian government has entered into an information sharing agreement with the United States, so the Canadian government will have whatever information the United States has on file. Therefore, the first thing you should do is clear your criminal record to the fullest extent possible before submitting to a background check. The benefit of a set aside is that it will show the Canadian government that the matter was resolved and is no longer considered a conviction. This will improve the odds of being granted entry into Canada and help avoid being stuck at the border for a lengthy interrogation.

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Can I get a Sentri pass?

The Border Patrol has discretion in granting or denying Sentri passes. So, the only thing we can say for sure is that it would help; investing in record clearing before applying for a pass would be advantageous. A modest investment in getting a set aside could be the difference between having your request accepted or denied. The set aside will show that you have resolved all matters with the court.

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Can I vote after my conviction?

If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, then you did not lose the right to vote. Upon completion of your sentence for your first felony, your civil rights are automatically restored. If the case you wish to set aside is not your first felony, then you have to apply to have your civil rights restored. If the sentence included probation, then you can apply to have your rights restored immediately after the probation is terminated. If the sentence included imprisonment in the state prison, then you must wait two years after the date of absolute discharge to have your rights restored. Civil rights restoration is included in the setting aside service. Civil rights restoration does not include firearm rights, which must be petitioned for separately. (ARS 13-912, 13-905, and 13-906)

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Will setting aside help with immigration?

Criminal violations may have severe consequences for immigrants, even if the crime is expunged/vacated/sealed. Even minor offenses such as petty theft can make someone deportable or inadmissible, while more serious offenses such as burglary may not have the same consequences. Since each case is unique, getting a case-by-case analysis tailored to your specific facts is imperative. To find out if your criminal conviction will impact your immigration case it is imperative you contact a qualified immigration attorney. Our in-house immigration attorney is available to answer questions at 714-617-8395.

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Can I clear my federal conviction?

You can only expunge certain federal cases. Typically, you have to show that the conviction was wrongful or unconstitutional. Additionally, a person can apply for a pardon through the President. We do not handle federal cases.

If you were convicted of a federal felony and would like to restore your right to own a firearm please see our federal gun right restoration section.

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Will setting aside (expungement) restore my right to own a firearm?

No. The two most common reasons for a person to lose their right to own or possess a firearm in AZ are: (1) being convicted of a felony or (2) being convicted of a misdemeanor for domestic violence.

(1) If you were convicted of a felony, setting aside will not restore your right to own a firearm. To determine eligibility for restoration of the right to own a firearm, please see the section on restoring gun rights. (ARS 13-905)

(2) There is also a lifetime prohibition from the United States government (Lautenberg Amendment to the Violence Against Women Act), which prohibits firearm ownership of those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence as defined by the federal law. The federal definition is narrower than Arizona's definition, so your domestic violence conviction in Arizona might not trigger the federal law. Setting aside in Arizona does not lift the federal prohibition.

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Who can serve on a jury in Arizona?

In Arizona, you may serve on a jury if you: (1) are at least eighteen years of age, (2) are a United States citizen, (3) are a resident of the jurisdiction in which you are summoned to serve or you name and address appears on the master jury list as presumed to be a member of said jurisdiction, (4) have never been convicted of a felony, unless your civil rights have been restored to you, (5) have not been adjudicated mentally incompetent or insane. (A.R.S. § 21-201)

If you have been convicted of a felony, upon absolute discharge of your conviction you have the right to submit an application to withdraw your plea of guilty and restore your civil rights so that you may serve on a jury. (16A A.R.S. Rules Crim. Proc., R. 29)

(http://government.westlaw.com/linkedslice/default.asp?RS=GVT1.0&VR=2.0&SP=AZR-1000&Action=Welcome)

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The first step towards a better life begins with finding out if you are eligible for Arizona Setting Aside Misdemeanor.



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Call us at 602-490-0725 or Toll Free (877) 573-7273
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Law Firm of Higbee & Associates
2942 N 24th Street, Suite 114
Phoenix, AZ 85016
*By Appointment Only

We handle cases in Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yavapai and Yuma counties.